Last Mile Problem

We have a tendency to coast when the end is in sight.

“The difference between average and outstanding is often just one more.”
—Shane Parrish

In the logistics industry, there’s a term called the “last mile problem,” which refers to the fact that the last mile of a package’s journey to its destination is often the hardest and most expensive part.

“Last mile” problems aren’t exclusive to the shipping industry. Similar problems appear in all sorts of disciplines, and Jiu-Jitsu is no exception. If you’ve ever blown a lead in the last moment of a match, you can probably relate.

Rafael Lovato Jr. talks about the “last mile problem” in reference to his performance at ADCC 2007. He attributes his loss to getting comfortable with a tied score, coasting to overtime, and ultimately losing when his opponent scored in the final moments. This is a lesson he made a point to learn from and never repeat, and solving that problem took him to victory at the 2007 Worlds.

Odds are you’ve had your own “last mile problem” at some point: a totally avoidable loss because you took your foot off the gas too early. Unfortunately, it’s part of human nature to slack off when you feel like your victory is certain - and this can be a disastrous mistake if your opponent disagrees.

If you want to succeed in any endeavor, it’s key to recognize our natural “last mile” tendencies and to perform in the final moments with the same dedication and intensity that we brought at the start.


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